Looking for a New Year’s resolution? Why not pledge to incorporate a few daily or weekly habits that will help reduce your carbon footprint?

green living

Image courtesy of Rento.rm on Flickr.

Just like New Year’s resolutions such as quitting smoking, eating healthier, or losing weight take time, living a sustainable lifestyle does too. Going greren requires becoming aware of your existent habits (do you have a habit of using plastic water bottles?). Going green also requires that you make minor adjustments to your schedule and routine (like unplugging appliances after you are done using them).

But quitting cold turkey rarely works and can overwhelm you. Why not start the New Year off by making a few simple, minor changes to help reduce your carbon footprint. If you have the drive and motivation, you will succeed.

Develop a plan, set some goals, and before you know it you can be living a much more sustainable, earth-friendly lifestyle with some of these tips for going green:

  1. Check before you chuck: 80% of what Americans throw away can be recycled. Despite this fact, America’s recycling rate is only 28%. Look before you throw away. Did you know that you can recycle plastic sandwich bags and toilet paper rolls? Feel awkward throwing away a DVD or CD? You can donate these items to Goodwill, The Salvation Army, or you can trade them for a new DVD/CD or cash.
  2. Use your reusable bag! Do you forget your reusable bags at home when you go grocery shopping? Are you a nut who leaves them in the cart and forgets to hand them to the cashier at the grocery store? The trick is to identify your problem and find a way in which you won’t forget. If your problem is remembering to hand them to the cashier, slip them on your wrists while you shop or purchase a fold up bag that can fit in your purse.
  3. Clean eco-friendly: Try making your own eco-friendly all-purpose cleaner! It’s easy to make in bulk. Read on how to make lavender vinegar all-purpose cleaner here.
  4. Refrigerator and freezer check-up: Reduce your energy use by checking the temperature of your fridge and freezer. Your fridge should be between 37-40 degrees, and freezer should be between 0-5 degrees.
  5. Wash your clothes in cold water.
  6. Unplug small appliances and devices.
  7. Save water: Don’t let the water run while you brush your teeth. Teach your kids to do the same!
  8. Turn off that computer; you can save up to $90 bucks annually.
  9. Go paperless by paying your bills online.

10. Have a garden? Collect rain water in a bin and use it to water your plants.

11. Try to figure out how many ways you can use a mason jar: Because it’s cool!

Good luck in your 2013 green endeavors!